Game 7: #3 Ohio State @ #15 Wisconsin

I missed last week’s game against #24 Michigan, and it left me feeling bittersweet. It would be the last game that I would voluntarily not attend at Camp Randall for the next eleven years. It was a blessing. That Michigan game was the infamous “crowd crush” game that forced all stadiums across the country to reevaluate their stadium structure and safety procedures. Wisconsin defeated Michigan for the first time in many years (thus, the crowd rush). But, it nearly killed so many fans.

The nervousness from the Michigan game spilled over into the Ohio State game. Precautions had been taken to prevent any tragedies in the event of another rush. With a win, Wisconsin would control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl – a feat they have not reached since 1963. In addition, excitement in our own world arose because Daniel J. Travanti, star of Hill Street Blues, tailgated with us before the game! We got to know him through friends at the time, and being a former UW grad, he stopped in to show his support of the Badgers.

At the game, more drama set the scene as snow was lightly drifting from the night sky. The lights around the stadium illuminated Camp Randall in a way that made it seem like the whole universe was looking on. The game was tied at 14 with seven seconds left and a field goal awaiting the Badgers. The tension was unbearable. National television, Keith Jackson and Bob Griese in the pressbox, a 31-year Big Ten title drought, a Rose Bowl birth on the line, a stadium full of jittering fans – it all zoomed in on one kick. The snap went back, the kick went up, and the ball was blocked back by Ohio State along with dreams of California, warm beaches, Rose Bowl parades, and so forth. It was suddenly quiet enough to hear the soft snow landing on surrounding winter parkas. The game ended in a 14-14 tie. Perhaps it was a higher power that blocked that ball keeping the crowd in their seats and safety intact. Nevertheless, that was the last thing on my mind as I stormed out of that stadium stomping my feet in absolute rage. I thought the dream of Pasadena was over. But, that higher power had more in mind…

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